There is one thing that concerns me about the Journal of Neuroscience banning three authors from future submission in the wake of a paper retraction.
One reason you might seek to get harsh with some authors is if they have a track record of corrigenda and errata supplied to correct mistakes in their papers. This kind of pattern would support the idea that they are pursuing an intentional strategy of sloppiness to beat other competitors to the punch and/or just don't really give a care about good science. A Journal might think either "Ok, but not in our Journal, chumpos" or "Apparently we need to do something to get their attention in a serious way".
There is another reason that is a bit worrisome.
One of the issues I struggle with is the whisper campaign about chronic data fakers. "You just can't trust anything from that lab". "Everyone knows they fake their data."
I have heard these comments frequently in my career.
On the one hand, I am a big believer in innocent-until-proven-guilty and therefore this kind of crap is totally out of bounds. If you have evidence of fraud, present it. If not, shut the hell up. It is far to easy to assassinate someone's character unfairly and we should not encourage this for a second.
I can't find anything on PubMed that is associated with the last two authors of this paper in combination with erratum or corrigendum as keywords. So, there is no (public) track record of sloppiness and therefore there should be no thought of having to bring a chronic offender to task.
On the other hand, there is a lot of undetected and unproven fraud in science. Just review the ORI notices and you can see just how long it takes to bust the scientists who were ultimately proved to be fraudsters. The public revelation of fraud to the world of science can be many years after someone first noticed a problem with a published paper. You also can see that convicted fraudsters have quite often continued to publish additional fraudulent papers (and win grants on fraudulent data) for years after they are first accused.
I am morally certain that I know at least one chronic fraudster who has, to date, kept one step ahead of the
long short and ineffectual arm of the ORI law despite formal investigation. There was also a very curious case I discussed for which there were insider whispers of fraud and yet no findings that I have seen yet.
This is very frustrating. While data faking is a very high risk behavior, it is also a high reward behavior. And the risks are not inevitable. Some people get away with it.
I can see how it would be very tempting to enact a harsh penalty on an otherwise mild pretext for those authors that you suspected of being chronic fraudsters.
But I still don't see how we can reasonably support doing so, if there is no evidence of misconduct other than the rumor mill.